Hurricane Season 2019
While the 2018 hurricane season was a lively one with storms that slammed the Carolinas and the Florida Panhandle, two early forecasts for this year call for fewer storms — good news for Maryland residents and beachgoers. The 2018 hurricane season's activity was about 120 percent of an average season with Hurricane Florence slamming into coastal Virginia and the Carolinas, and Hurricane Michael inundating portions of the Florida Panhandle.
The two early looks at the season — from the weather researchers at Colorado State University and the forecasters at AccuWeather — disagree in part. The Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1 through Nov. 30.
AccuWeather predicts a near- to slightly above-normal hurricane season with 12 to 14 storms in 2019. Five to seven of those storms could become hurricanes and two to four are predicted to become major hurricanes.
"This year, we think that there will be a few less tropical storms and lower numbers in hurricanes, but again, the old saying is 'it only takes one'," AccuWeather Atlantic Hurricane expert Dan Kottlowski said.
Meanwhile, weather researchers at Colorado State University predict a slightly below-average 2019 Atlantic hurricane season. The university's Tropical Meteorology Project team said the 2019 season will be about 75 percent of an average season. The researchers are predicting 13 named storms this year.
"Of those, researchers expect five to become hurricanes and two to reach major hurricane strength ... with sustained winds of 111 miles per hour or greater," researchers said, adding that they are referring to storms that would be a category 3, 4 or 5 storms.
Other years with similar conditions saw hurricanes with impacts along the East Coast from Brownsville, Texas, to the Florida panhandle and up the mid-Atlantic coast, AccuWeather said. "This year, just about all coastal areas look like they have equal chances," Kottlowski said.
Colorado State researchers use models built on roughly 40 years of historical data and evaluate conditions that include Atlantic sea surface temperatures, sea level pressures, vertical wind shear levels, El Niño and other factors.
"It takes only one storm near you to make this an active season," said Michael Bell, associate professor in the CSU Department of Atmospheric Science.
The 2019 forecast is set to be updated on June 4, July 2 and Aug 6.